reading flop texture
Strategies for Texas Holdem Poker » Reading Flop Texture
Flop texture is all about the question, "How has the board helped you?" Those with lots of experience in Texas Hold'em know how to read the board's texture, the "flop texture". Now, you can learn from their wisdom.
When you're reading the flop texture, your thinking has to go something like this: Say you're dealt a pair of Aces in the hole. Woo hoo! But now the Flop comes high, with stuff like K*J*9, Q*J*8, K*Q*10, and no rainbows. Now, this flop is potentially very good for you--but at once it's a very dangerous flop, because it's also got great potential for your opponents. So the "flop texture" reading here is: be very careful. Cautiously optimistic. If you get flops like this while you're holding your high pair, and you're playing with big money, you'll end up far behind or, if you are in the lead after the flop, you'll very likely not be far ahead -- but if you didn't know that, you could jump to the conclusion that everything's going your way so far. Yes, you're strong, but if you are not very cautious you could suffer a bad beat and lose a lot of money.
What if you got some pocket royalty--a pair--and the flop comes J*J*3? You're sitting pretty with those Kings...unless, your opponent now has J*J*J.
Why are these high pocket pairs at once more powerful but more dangerous for you? It's got a lot to do with poker player psychology. Players who get small pocket pairs like 3*3 are much more likely to just fold on a high flop like that J*J*3, but players who have stuff in the holes like Q*J, K*Q, or even A*Q probably ain't foldin'. Luck could go their way (and clearly in some cases already has) just as it well might go yours. You all have great potential for getting the winning hand--and you're all likely to stay in and call-raise each other. You're going to be putting in a large portion of that pot.
If you've got those pocket Kings and you get raised after the J*J*3 flop, seriously ponder folding there and then. Your opponent might just be playing aggressive, but there's a strong chance he just got three Jacks--and the river and turn could bring him four of a kind or a strong full house. Of course, with a pair of Kings and Jacks on the board you might well want to stay in and take your chances at least until you see the turn. But by all means do NOT do something nutty like go all in or even raise. Just call if you don't fold.
Now -- when are your large pocket pairs a much stronger bet?
If one of the cards gets suit-matched by the flop, you're golden. Let's say you've got black Aces and the flop comes 852, all spades. Now you can be aggressive. Your hand really IS that powerful this time around.
Here, play red aces versus a black flush draw by being patient for a safe turn card before you try to sweeten that pot. If a fourth spade hits, you can cut your losses soon enough that your bankroll should remain intact. If that doesn't happen and you have reason to suspect that your opponent is on a draw, just use a big bet and protect your hand.
High pocket pairs are threatened by straight flops, even if they are low cards (and even more threatening if the flopped straight is higher cards); even a 3-4-5 board means a 2, 4, 6, or 7 on the turn can beat you or leave you wide open to getting bluffed into a heavy loss.
And don't assume dead board flops give you a winning hand with your high pocket pair of Aces or Kings. They look good on the surface but 9*5*2 could mean three of a kind to an opponent with a small pocket pair. If your opponent raises here, be very cautious -- put him on trips with a small pocket pair.
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